Nuriya Neumann is currently working towards her master’s degree in Occupational Therapy at Jefferson College of Health Professions, class of 2018. Nuriya chose Occupational Therapy (OT) because of her interest in focusing on the patient as a whole person through finding out what their strengths and interests are. By using physical and psychosocial methods, she helps people achieve independence in all aspects of their lives—at work, at home and in social and community settings. She graciously took time out of her schedule to share some thoughts with Carter, a member of the QSPACES team.

Question: What type of LGBTQ competency training are you receiving in your program?

Unfortunately, we currently receive very limited LGBTQ competency training in the OT program. The faculty at Jefferson understands the importance of integrating LGBTQ-centered instruction into its coursework and is currently in the process of developing that material but that doesn’t change the fact that such training is not required by the accrediting bodies. Occupational Therapists should be required to undergo comprehensive specialized training, especially given the fact that the profession of OT has its roots in mental healthcare and LGBTQ-identified people face mental health challenges at an alarming rate when compared with the general population.

Although the current curriculum includes evidenced based practices for treating individuals who are experiencing depression, anxiety, and addiction recovery, the curriculum doesn’t make the connection that all of these conditions disproportionally affect LGBTQ folks. At the end of the day, the students are left missing an essential piece of the puzzle: How can a practitioner provide client-centered, competent, and affirming care to the LGBTQ community without specialized training?

Nuriya has written about her clinical internship working with trans and gender variant clients. To find out more visit: